“New Year’s Resolution: More Wonder, Less Worry!”

“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? —Psalm 8: 3,4. NRSV

I have never been a fan of New Year’s resolutions. Nonetheless, as 2020 begins I resolve to have more wonder in my life and less worry. I’m not going to lie; there is plenty to worry about. But I have learned from keeping a journal that when I look back on what I was worrying about it was usually the wrong thing.

I resolve to be less distracted by the shiny and ephemeral so that I can pay more attention to what is truly wonderful around me. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote this about wonder: “We do not come upon wonder only at the climax of thinking or in observing strange, extraordinary facts but in the startling fact that there are facts at all: being, the universe, the unfolding of time. We may face wonder at every turn, in a grain of sand, in an atom, as well as in the stellar space.” (God in Search of Man)

The poet who wrote Psalm 8 looked up at the night sky in wonder and became aware of the vast divide between the eternal Creator and us frail creatures. The Psalmist was also wonder-struck that this majestic Creator should care for us mortals.

Whenever I am hesitant to approach this high and holy God in prayer, I remember that this same God, so far removed from us, reached out in love to be “God with us” in the humanity of Jesus Christ. Jesus himself is the mediator between heaven and earth. He is the bridge between frail human flesh and the majesty of the Creator.

Whatever the new year brings God will be with us, and that is cause for more wonder and less worry!

Prayer: God with us, as the new year unfolds, open us to the wonder that is everywhere around us, and free us from the worry that robs us of fullness of life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

(This is my devotion for January 1, 2020 in the United Church of Christ’s Daily Devotional booklet for Advent to Epiphany. Photo: “The Gloaming” by R.L Floyd, 2019.)

6 thoughts on ““New Year’s Resolution: More Wonder, Less Worry!”

  1. Dear Rick, Thanks for wise words about resolving for wonder, especially the insight that the profound is more often than not found in the prosaic. Your resolution focus more on the wonders, and less on the worries is one in which I will join you. Peace and love to you and Martha in what I pray will be a happy and healthy 2020, David

    Sent from my iPhone


    • Thanks, Jason. I took the picture from the back deck of Rebecca and Alex’s house in Rhode Island. It’s hard to capture the gloaming because there is not enough light, but this time I got it (with my iPhone camera even.)

  2. Thanks Richard and Happy New Year! Seems to me that Psalm 8: 3,4 contains as much worry as it does wonder. The poet seems anxious that God may cease to be mindful and caring…comparative – along the lines of I’m not worthy. Your resolution sets a great example, as the majority has swung over time towards wonder of items that are mankind-built. Seems like a lot of people feel that we could do a better tree – – – and who would be surprised if the Apple I-tree were to be available in 2030

    Be well,

    • Yes, you see quite a lot of that worry in the Psalms (and also in some of the prophet.) The prayers to God are often reminding God of how great God was in the past, but where are you now, O God? The lament (we had one on Sunday from Isaiah) sounds like the complaint, “You had one job!” Thanks for the comment. Best, Rick

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